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David Barsamian & Richard Wolff Education. (2012) 'Occupy the Economy Challenging Capitalism.' New.

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  CSPAN    Book TV    David Barsamian & Richard Wolff  Education.   
   (2012) 'Occupy the Economy Challenging Capitalism.' New.  

    September 22, 2012
    8:15 - 10:00pm EDT  

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>> be didn't quite that. and i truly believe that he added something. and at that time, he was alone. people thought that they could deal with us in a constitutional way based on our skin color. i have lived that are good that is a contradiction. what do you think we held onto? where those words from justice harlan? it is my understanding that said to us what justice thurgood marshall read when he thought he was having great difficulties in doing the right thing across this country. he would read that dissent. at different points, he of great man did me a little kid. a giant and a kid merely trying to --
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[inaudible] >> i think he occupies his own. you know i have spent time with him and i would like to say a word. people do a lot of talking on behalf of other people. i sat with him in a meeting when i first got to the court, a courtesy visit that was supposed to last 10 minutes and lasted two and a half hours. he regaled me with stories and i said to him, i wish that if i had the courage in the age that i could have traveled with him across the south but i doubt he would have had the courage he had to do that. he looked at me very quietly and said, i have to do in my time what i have to do. you have to do in your time what you have to do. that was all the guidance and perhaps when we talk about this
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great document, it sums up the founders. it sums up those at the convention. they had to do in their time was they had to do and they did it and we have to do in our time what we have to do. >> so, with that of but he had one additional thought and then maybe bring it to a close perk of this conversation i think has been in the spirit that you are calling for, our sponsoring institution, the federalist society and the have the constitution accountability center. we don't always agree on everything but i think we both do agree on the idea of a serious commerce asian centered on this document. since i mentioned amendments, i don't make too many predictions but i will say that most of the
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amendments, as a practical matter, have the support of both parties because it's hard to get two-thirds, two-thirds-3/4 without both parties being on board. the great amendments of the 1960's for example, the great iconic statutes of the 1960's and the civil rights acts of civic -- civil rights act of 64 and the voting rights act of 65 in a fair housing act of 68. republicans and democrats in the spirit that you're calling for and one of her thought since we are talking about our sponsoring institutions for this really extraordinary conversation, and that is the national archives. i think that the framers of the constitution who would amending their regime, they studied the state constitution and they saw which ones work and didn't. massachusetts put his
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concentration to a vote so let's put our constitution to a vote. most of the constitutions have three branches of government. let's go at that. most of them have bicameralism, let's go at that. an independent executive works well in massachusetts and new york was build on that so the amendments, many of the bill of rights. george mason u. mentioned. he first gets us virginia's bill of rights and that is a model the model for the federalist bill of rights. the abolition of slavery occurred in various days and then not the federal level so we have to study and what has gone before is? we have his duty to the future but i think because we charge up as one who actually are understanding and respectful of the past and that is part of what the national archives is about. if i could just on a personal note tell you the story of why i am here and justice thomas' presence needs no explanation. he is just as, so what the heck am i doing here?
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well, when i was 11 years old, i came to the national archives and i got this document, a big version of the emancipation proclamation, and it was an edition of the emancipation proclamation and can take a look, the 100th anniversary of the emancipation. 50 years ago september 1962 and archives release that special edition for kids like me and i got my picture of abe lincoln because i'm lincoln fan too. [laughter] and i came and perhaps what made me not cynical, coming at a very young age to a place like this, being as close to mr. lincoln and what he did for the union,
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being exposed to the declaration of independence and the constitution i think i am here today honestly because of bad so i would like to give special thanks for this national treasure, the national archives and i want to thank all of you for coming to this extraordinary conversation. i want to encourage those on the television audience to come to this place and bring your kids, bring your grandkids and your grandnephew. bring the next generation here and if you can't come here physically, experience the national archives on line. you mentioned the internet. i think it's up to us. we can't just think about the future without thinking very deeply about the past and i think this is the place that will help us do that thinking and so i ask all of you to join me in thanking justice thomas
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and thanking the archives. [applause] wolff and barsamian talk about our economic crisis and argued and be traced back the 1970s when our economic system shifted from benefiting the vast majority of americans to one which mostly benefits only the very rich. this is about an hour and a half. [applause] >> lets cut quickly to the chase.
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what is it in capitalism's dna that makes is so unstable? seasons the beginning of economics its discipline back in the days of adam smith and david mcartor who were the first to develop a conference of way of thinking about things. economists are worried about that. it has never been except maybe in the last 30 years, the case that a significant portion of the profession, let alone the public, imagine the capitalism was anything else. the reality has been from the beginning, wherever capitalism is establishing itself, it has been stunningly unstable. it is also time facing on a basis three to seven years of economic down turn. give you an example, but in the last time we had a major collapse of the sites we have now is was in the 1930s as you all know.
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then we had a collapse in the beginning of 1929 that was not done until 1940, 41. it lasted a very long time. unemployment rates higher than we have had so far in this one. so that is a terrible disaster. put people back in this country very far, cut back our production and poverty on a scale that we haven't seen the fourth set of. what you may not know is between the end of the great depression in 1940, 41 in the beginning of the current disaster which is dated december 2007, there were several more economic downturns. in other words the system is unstable in an extraordinary way. every few years, millions of people are thrown out of work. huge numbers of businesses collapse. immense amounts of production that we are capable of producing is undertaken. people without work sit
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side-by-side with unused tools, equipment, raw materials preventing us from having an output that could solve many of our social problems. it is a catastrophic problem. i like to explain this to my students and those that buildup the tension i have a pregnant pause and i leaned across the podium and i say to them, if you lived with the person that is unstable is this economic system, you would have moved out long ago. or demanded they get professional help. [laughter] yet, you stay in an economic system without the same or a comparable reaction. so it has been clear, even from people who like capitalism, but this that this is a major flaw, a major weakness, a major cost and they have tried to come up with explanations. so far as explanations haven't
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led them to a solution and i want to stress that in response to david's question. for example, since the great depression where our president was franklin roosevelt, every subsequent president has had the unfortunate need to cope with an economic downturn. that is what it means could be the president of an unstable system. and every president has made the same promise, starting with roosevelt, including mr. obama, if you will just follow my policies these presidents have all said, not only will you get out of the current economic mess, but pregnant pause, we will thereby make sure that this kind of economic crash does not afflict our children. every president has promised this and no president has yet delivered on that promise. everyone has failed.
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we can't control it. the monetary policy and fiscal policy, the federal reserve come the stimulus program. we weren't supposed to have this crisis. when it began to be clear that we were heading into a real doozy we were told that mr. bush and his visors that it was just in the housing market in the sub-prime mortgage and it would all work out and nothing to worry about. a few months and that is what they regularly told us. the federal reserve just decided on the quantitative easing program and the only reason they are pumping money and for the third time is because the first two didn't work. and the reason we have to have multiple stimuli was because they didn't work, so it's a very stable system -- unstable system. it's not clear what that is about except that it's very deep, built-in and the reason we know that is every effort to stop it, to prevent it, does not
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not -- has failed and if you ever wanted, not the only one but if you ever wanted one way into a conversation that would question a system that displays that kind of instability because you cannot exaggerate the cause. every index of misery goes up with unemployment. mental health problems, physical health problems, drug addiction, alcoholism, break of the family, you name it, it gets worse with an economic down turn. for family obvious reasons. the costs are spread into the future. the children of parents who are unemployed to live in a community afflicted by foreclosures. children's show the stores if you like. education and personal development and emotional development. for years to come. every time i hear some conservative politician
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explained why we happened got the resources to do something about unemployment, another one of these economic downturns of capitalism, i always scratch my head because even the most conservative calculation would indicate that the costs of not doing something are larger and not to have been undertaken long ago. justice in this case and i don't want to push too far on this but in this case the most stunning thing, if you are normal thinking person, but to ask yourself, let see, the last time we had a crisis like this, the last time capitalism instability took his terrible turn in the 1930s, something very different happened then is happening now. major steps were taken by a democratic president, a middle-of-the-road or by the way like mr. obama.
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he wasn't a big middle-of-the-road or. he suddenly became something else and he did a lot of things for the mass of people. none of those are being done now. that is a remarkable difference in the way you handled a system whose instability out long ago to have made it necessary if we wanted a society that was a great debit, to ask the question, can't we do better than an economic system that regularly relentlessly imposes economic downturns on us specs i mean that's it? we have to accept this as if it were like rain on a rainy day, instead of saying wait a minute, it's a strange society that would have an economic system performing like that and not ask that question on a regular basis as part of the basic questioning of how to do better in a
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community and to have an economic system that works like that. >> how has the political class in washington responded to the political crisis? >> well, i will try to be polite. we have not only an economic system in capitalism that displays this stunning instability, we have an economic system that has other qualities that i think are equally important in shaping my answer to what the political class is or isn't doing. we have a tendency in capitalism to polarize income. in other words, the interaction of production and markets in the and the way they normally work gives all kinds of advantages to people who have access and produces all kinds of disadvantages for people who don't. i'm sure many of you have already noticed that. and when you can compare your old opportunities to those who
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already have had good ones and have accumulated something, you understand even if you don't go through the mathematics, that the system tends to produce inequalities about come. the best example would be the last 30 years, is a stunning period in which the gap between rich and poor has become much more extreme here and the united states than it was 30 years ago. if you had compared 30 years ago the united states the difference between the rich and the poor here as opposed to the countries of western europe we were the most egalitarian of countries. now we are the least. we have outstripped everybody else because our capitalism has been relatively robust and when capitalism can do its thing, it polarizes and when a polarizes, it creates an awareness which is probably also occur to you. if a growing number of people are having a hard time and there are are a shrinking number of
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people collecting enormous wealth, it will occur to you that this is happening and it may develop a resentment against the other group. if you have a system like capitalism coexisting, not that you have to, but if you have a system of capitalism coexisting with a democratic society in which everybody has both in the following insightful occur to a lot of people. week, the majority, are really getting screwed in the economy. the way to fix it, to reverse it, to offset it is to use the political system to get that result. in the political system we can rearrange so that what we lost in the economics which have become more and more unequal is recouped by using politics. with the majority of votes, with where majority rules this is a perfectly logical way of
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thinking. and this has occurred to the rich as well. and to the corporations as well. so the more the system produces the inequality, the more urgent it comes for those benefiting from the inequality of capitalism than and those that control the politics. because the alternative would be self-destructive and they're not going to do that. they're not going to allow a political system to function that undoes but they have achieved in their mind in the economic system. they are not going to do that and so you can watch as america becomes more and more unequal that it becomes necessary for the politics to become more and more dependent on the money, dependent on the corporations that provide contributions to the economy and the party and more important than those things, the army of glaubius who shape what's going on in a normal business of government and perhaps most importantly, all the think-tanks, all those
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apparatuses that go around shaping how we think about the problems of the world, what's in the media and the newspaper and it's how we'll normalize we all normalize with the great theorist george lu costs years ago called the shaping of common sense, what becomes the common sense notion is not a neutral matter. doesn't just flow out of the air. a lot of time and effort is spent by people from the society to shape the commonsense notion and so i think we have a politics that have adjusted to our economic system, as we should have expected it to do all along. those folks are not going to permit, as much as they can, they're not going to permit the political system to undo the results of the economic system with which they are quite pleased and as long as that
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happens, you, i and the american people in general are going to confront a political system very nicely articulated to oscillate between two parties who have differences but these differences are not about the basic economic system in either one of them has the slightest interest in debating it let alone fundamentally changing it and that is therefore fine for the society that then becomes the coin toss. do we like mr. romney? do we like mr. obama? do we heard preferred the republicans to the democrats tracks then we focused elsewhere, on things like whether you can have a gun in the back of your truck or whether you do or do not approve of marriage or a whole host of other issues whose importance i'm not disputing but issues that get us away from this thorny problem of how the economics and politics
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articulated where there is a desire of those who run the society that is simply ruled out of order. >> the five corporations that dominate but most people in this country see here and read have perfected the art of propaganda and manufacturing consent while simultaneously criminalizing the dissent but i wanted to talk about the very origins of this which could be traced to the much revered and in my field much overrated founding fathers at any political rally. people talk about them in hushed tones but let's hear what they have to say about these kinds of issues. james madison who rode with hamilton in the federalist papers, he said the aim of government is to protect the
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minority against the majority, to protect the often minority against the majority and john j. goes one step further, it jay been the first president of the constitutional congress, later for supreme court chief justice. he said those that own the country out to govern itself i think we have to see that the origin of this kind of monopoly capitalism goes back right to the very -- of the country. see the irony though is that the system has some of the sharpest analysts and critics have always understood. it's full of contradictions. is important that i'd be interested not to be -- because i don't believe it, that this is a system that for example herbert mark as he liked to one dimension and is somehow solved its problems and presented a united face that can
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be overcome, that can't be cracked. the system is so well defended back any hope of changing it is delusional. i don't believe that for one minute. this is a system full of all kinds of problems that it can solve and it's patently obvious. i already mentioned one. it doesn't want these crises all the time. these are times of trouble. in times of crisis people are asking questions. which gives opportunity for people like me to offer unusual answers. this is not useful for their system. that's very important. let let me give another example. the worst conceivable thing for the republican party and for george bush going into the gears 2007 and 2008 was to end up having to run the next presidential cycle at a moment of severe economic crisis. they would have done, did do, everything they could think of,
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higher all the best economist and pay a fortune of money to pull out every stop, get every corporation to help every way not to have that happen. mr. obama was able to ride into office on the anguish of the american people who blamed the republicans and mr. bush with mr. obama's help in the republicans are now busily trying of course to return his favor and run the game the other way. this is the way this is all done. mr. obama did not want -- wander into the race in 2012 with the economic crisis going on for four years. the biggest endangerment his campaign faces and so clearly they are not able to control the situation and the idea that it's all under control is i think not only a mistake but it's a
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mistake that is suggested often in academic and media circles. i am a professional economist and i've been doing this all my adult life and a professor of economics. my friends and associates, people that i agree with you you and disagree, third right-wingers and centrist and the left-wingers, we all agree this is the worst condition of the american economy that any of us have not only seen but never imagined could have happened. we disagree on how we got here and we disagree on what to do but it is a disaster of unparalleled proportion. there is no debate really at all. even those in the political parties will and private say that so there is no question that controlling this economy has not worked. it is in many many ways out of control. and that creates opportunities for folks who want to change things and they should never forget that.
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>> warren buffett and from berkshire hathaway occasionally has let the cat out of the bag. the secretary proportionally pays more in taxes than he does. he also acknowledge that class warfare is being waged in the united states and his class is winning. it's just rather remarkable but i want you to talk about events in the eurozone in europe and how that is affecting the economic crisis here and your visit to an example perhaps, a successful example, for an alternative to the capitalist economic model in spain. >> first a word about warren buffett. there again i think the contradictory mess of all of this is a play. on the one hand, yes there have always been people like him on the side of the wealthy and the
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big corporations who have a clear understanding that it is certain point it becomes dangerous to keep going in that direction. we cannot keep having a smaller and smaller number of people doing really well in a sea of people that are having a harder and harder time. do it for a while, push it, but don't kill the goose that lays the golden egg in and. so there are always does and it's not the only one. george soros and there are whole bunch of people like that who see that and who have the courage or the comfort of security to say it, but remember the same warren buffett news says that is a major donor of zimudie corporation and the moody's corporation was a central player in providing aaa ratings for securities we now know aren't worthless, are
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worthless, fraudulent and so on and so you know, he is says he would himself admitted part of this and therefore thrown into many of the activities that actually brought him out of the very crisis he now worries in terms of its consequences. let me turn to europe. here we have to be i think as americans a little bit careful. this crisis is homegrown. this is an american crisis. it lieu up here in 2007, 2008 and 2009. during those years it was much worse here than anywhere else. the europeans look to the united states and thank their lucky stars that it wasn't so bad there, as it has been here. this was the mistake of europeans as they thought, but this was a crisis limited to the united states or peculiar to the
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united states. peculiar to housing or mortgage finance of housing and stories that were told here in the united states too. the very term that is still used, the financial crisis, as if it were limited to the financial sector which is the only function i can see where that adjective, to column everybody, sort of like police department who now say every crime that gets in the newspapers and related. in order to comfort those people who might be worried that if it warned it might be part of the normal lives they lead which we don't want to put over there but somewhere else. the financial crisis, it is the financial crisis, to general crisis. it is an american. its global. it is in financial. it's everywhere across-the-board. and we can talk about that some or. the europeans have found that to their great dismay because once
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it has begun to be a little bit moderated here in 2010, it erupted in europe with all the force of a crisis that had been postponed like a disease and then when it finally arrives because you didn't take care of the two her two years earlier, it's worse until the europeans of the last two and a half years have suffered the more extreme experience like the united states had earlier. this is like americans to play the same games towards the europeans that they played toward us. oh, we have got it under control. before president obama we were on the long road to recovery and i hope many of you noticed the word long was repeated. [laughter] because for sure it's a long road since we are nowhere near the end of it. so you get bizarre formulations and i will give you one example.
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europeans are in trouble because they are trying to preserve a kind of vanished social democracy, kind of safety net, kind of welfare system which the world can no longer afford and the silly europeans having not appreciated that now are paying the price. the ttl is the following. europe is very different. in northern europe is actually coming through this crisis very well. germany for example is doing much better than the united states. germany's unemployment has shrunk in the last few years and. the united states has had nothing of the sort. we began at about 5% and we went up to 10% and we are now at 8.5%. that is not a recovery. the germans are doing real well. that one of the best safety nets in europe. their safety net, that is their provision of services for their people, has not been the cause
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of him having a hard time. if anything the logic runs the other way and the other parts of europe that are doing quite nicely or scandinavia and they are famous for the quality of their care safety net so the idea that europe's problems are because they have a safety net requires you not to know much about europe and many american commentators qualified on that score. having said that though, the crisis is very real in europe and i would urge all of you to pay attention because europe is a very very important player in the world. in many ways is the number one player yet the united states is still the biggest country. if you take the european common market together its more people in more than the united states and this is a very important part of the world economy, as important as united states. it is also the place the in a world that has had more violent
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warfare amongst its members over the last century than anybody else, two world wars of stupefying destructiveness and it's therefore a continent that is devoted to trying to do something about the severe anxiety they have just to raise an issue that you might want to debate at some point here at city lights bookstore. whether there might be an unfortunate connection between capitalism which has been the dominant system over the last century and the scale of warfare that is -- at the same time. the europeans are terrified so they have tried now to build a unity, a unified society, a united states of europe in a sense. in some ways modeling themselves through the united states having now common currency for large parts of it, the euro and the european commission and the european parliament and moving
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in that direction. they are now facing an extremely dangerous situation. one part of europe is doing very well, germany, france and northern europe generally speaking. the rest of europe particularly the southern areas, spain, portugal, greece, ireland, hungary and others are in terrible shape. serious, terrible shape and because some folks don't pay attention to the numbers, here's a chance for us to statistically help you. students of mine are professors who came to the united states who came to the universities where he taught and they are now professors at the university of athens a major university in greece. their salaries today as we speak are 40% less than what they were in may of 2010. just try to imagine yourself in
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a job that should captain which literally the money you get every week is 40% less, and that's true for all public employees in greece, police persons, fire persons, schoolteachers, social workers, you name it. these are societies that are in a major crash. people are leaving greece in a way they have not seen for 75 years. young people. there is no work. there's no future. is resuming in ireland which had a real bloom for the wild and the irish with a long history of this time of immigration are resuming it and likewise in other parts of europe. it's a very serious and political invocations are staggering because the governments in france and germany have been very frightened so that they too are facing an economic crisis and
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they too are trying to solve it by making the mass of their people pay, something we still -- they have chosen to use a very dangerous strategy particularly in germany and the strategy goes like this. we the government are your friends for you the german working class because we are not going to allow you to be made to pay for those lazy southern european people in greece, spain and italy, all those places where germans go on vacation. and they have played at kind of nationalist, almost quasi-racist card, trying to be the friend of their own workers. why? because the german workers are very worried about the austerity, that is what it is called in europe, coming down on them. they see it coming and they are very nervous because both merkel in germany, the conservative
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government and sarkozy in france, the former conservative government, or people who believe and protecting the capitalist system are bailing out every bank and big corporation the way we did hear. and doing that by borrowing money and then paying off these enormous debts by laying off public employees and using the money they used to give them instead to pay off your borrower which is a strategy everywhere. the germans and the french workers are very worried and so this relies them by saying don't worry, were not going to do it to you because the issue is we are not going to hurt you because we are not going to let you be made to pay for those spendthrift greek or spanish or italian. very dangerous in a country, in europe, because every spaniard and every italian and every greek have already many, how
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should i put this nicely, fix thoughts about their german fellow europeans, over from the war and they are being rekindled on a scale that should make anyone aware of the recent history nervous. you can already see the signs of severe conflict in europe, which as i notice in the american press, systematically underreported. two sides. i will pick greece and france. one country in terrible shape in one country considered to be in pretty good shape. first increase, we now see a political reaction to the economic crisis of monumental proportions over the last decade, many decades. greek politics have the same tweedledee tweedledum alteration between political parties very much like republican and democrat here. one is called a democracy party
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and one is called the greek socialist party. beowulf alternate every few years and would change seats and the red hats would be replaced by the blue hats and the rest. this year everything in greece changed. after the crunch down on the greek people, making them pay for a crisis they had nothing to do with, making them pay for bailing out the richest folks in greece etc., the great people did what no one thought they would. in the last two elections this year, an majority of great people did not vote for either of those two parties. try to understand what it would mean if a majority of americans voted for neither the republicans or the democrats. in the last election the two major parties in greece, the democracy and the socialist party, together got 140% of the vote, their combined faux.
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the explosive new parties party is a party called the cerverizzo party. the cerverizzo party is a far less -- party that is against all austerity programs and wants to solve greece's problems by taking stuff away from the traditional greek ridge which are important part of the country. this is a party that until this year.more than two or 3% of the vote. it got 27. the only reason there is a government in greece now of the right basically is because of a law passed in greece which i will mention because if you're not aware that it will help you understand. under greek law would have party comes in first, i will take a step back. greece has proportional representation. that deserves a word of comment. proportionate representation is the following peculiar idea of. if you get a certain percentage of the vote in an election, this
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idea runs, then you should have the same percentage of delegates in the congress to write the laws. another in other words of 18% of people want party a, then they get 18% of the seats when it comes to deciding what laws get passed because if you didn't do that you would effectively exclude that 18% that showed the vote from having a role to play in governing. in european countries, we have proportional representation. with you get usually more of a cut-off of 5% then you get whatever the proportion is that so many seats you get. we don't do that in the united states. >> get 51% of the vote to get it all in the 49% weight. by the way we have had her portion of representation in the united states in the past and we even have it now. when you read about a primary and a fod in some state and
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candidate a gets 20 delegates in the convention and candidate b, they get an equal number of delegates from what they got out of the vote so we actually recognized in the united states proportional representation. we just don't allow it. and one of the reasons for that is, if i can be allowed of moment of american history, i'm finding myself these days re-teaching american history over and over again. and here is an example. you may not know at that back in the 1940s, the city council of new york city, our biggest city, had elections based on proportional representation. so you would get a seat in the city council of new york if you got x% of the vote i would will give you a seat and so one which is how the following happened. a man named ben davis, benjamin
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davis, won the seat on the city council of new york. i remember the year in the late 1940s and you might be interested in two aspects of benjamin davis, city councilmember. he was black. he was an african-american and he was an enthusiastic public leader of the united states communist party and he was elected because of proportional representation. shortly after that proportional representation was ended and never returned to new york city but we have had it. greece has it in most european countries have it. sarita got three percentage points less than the new democracy. the new democracy came first and they had 27, 20% in cerese that came in with 24, 25 or something like that i'm a very close but under greek law, whatever party comes in first gets not only the percentage of the popular vote that one, but in extra 50 seats.
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that's only reason there is a government increased now because they didn't win it. they guided by national world which is designed to favor the party that comes in first. so you have a knife edge situation increase. in addition to the party, there is a strong deeply rooted greek communist party. i think they get about 8% of the vote typically. we have cerverizzo with 23, one third of the voters in greece voted extreme left-wing, hostility to not just this crisis but to the capitalist system of greece. and they don't make any bones about it. ..
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there was the election for president. the conservative was bounced out after one term replaced by the head of the socialist party. and a few weeks after that, they had the third election fur equivalent to the house of representatives, and the socialists swept that. for the first time in many, many decades, the entire french government is controlled by the socialist party, and the socialist party ran on the following platform austerity is not tolerable. we cannot allow the french people to be required to pay the cost of a capital.
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capitalist system that could not solve the problems. the first two commitments of the new government were one, raise the income tax bracket on the highest earnings from the current rate 45 percent. compare that to the united states which is 35%. raids it from 45% to 70%. [applause] by the french but a the socialists who proposed it have the absolutely majority in the houses. tvs a done deal. the second thing he decided to do was to use some of the money to be brought in by taxing the rich to higher, which he has now 40,000 new schoolteachers across france. these are symbolic acts, and the fight is far from over. the wealthy in france are up in
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arms about all of this, as you might imagine, and there are all kinds of struggle. it's not clear how far the socialists will go. but the writing is on the wall. europe, unlike the united states, unlike the united states, never allowed the waves of anticommunism to decimate the organization that had built up their left during the great depression. we had in the united states three organizations in the great depression that changed everything. the cio, the congress of industrial organizations, that organized the union people people at theon in the united states in the way we never have before. that's the greatest the united states has ever seen in the depths of the depression. try to think about the difference between then awe now in the depths of the depression, millions of americans decided they wanted to join the union
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and they did so on the a scale we never had before or since. the second big organization was the social itself parties. multiple parties. and the third was american communist party who was coordinated with the io overlapped, joined memberships and joined together. very powerful organizations parallel to what you had in europe. but after the war, everything changed. if i take a moment to explain why, again the history. roosevelt comes to power, the depression is already underway three years, he runses on a balance budget proposal. this is no radical. he gets in the office and everyone around him tells him the economic crisis is worse than anything they have ever seen, which clearly true. and they don't know what to do. it's getting worse. something has to be done. and that might have been an
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interesting conversation, but there were also people marching in the streets on a scale we have never seen before because the cio and the socialist and the communist who have rallies, unemployed people who took over things that were struggles in the midwest and someone you know about when maliciouses were organized by farmers who informed judges in american courts that if they threw any other farmer out of his or her home because of the a mortgage problem, they would come and lynch the judge which they did repeatedly and roosevelt had to call out the national guard who sometimes won. but only sometimes. all of this was producing a tinderbox so that finally when the cio, the socialist, and the communist came to him they said you must do something. they knew they had a political problem on their hand. two kinds, the cio was rentings tens of millions of aggravated
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and energid workers and unions. but the socialists and the communist who had come very strong represented something even scarier which is a different system not demand for help but a different system. so roosevelt acted. and the story i'm about to tell you is basically what he did. he went to the rich and the corporations, people he knew well, that's where he came from, he felt well-connected family. and he said to them, you have to give me a lot of money, gentleman, i mean really big. because i'm going have to take care of the people you have unemployed, and i tell you, you better give me the money. because if you don't, the socialist and communist coming down the road are going to cut you more steel. here it is, give me a lot. and he split half of them.
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half of them bought it. they agreed. the other half never did. the other half committed themselves to do something i'll mention to you in a moment. but the half he won over was enough. he went back to the union to cio and the socialist and the communist and said we have a deal. i am going take care of the mass of the desperate people in the crisis on the scale you never dreamed of. and you won't have to pay for it. i will give them to pay for it. you have to drop the crap about another system. that has to be quite. you have to leave the corporations the way they are. the shareholders own the shares. let them select the board of -- let the that be. and that deal was struck. the deal was basically struck. so roosevelt goes on the radio and says, okay, hello, americans
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suffering from depression, here's what i'm going do number one. i'm doing create a social security system. every one of you that has done a lifetime of work in the 65 years of age or older i'm going to give you money for the rest of your live. every week or month i'm going to give you money. people couldn't believe it. try to think people were in deep trouble. there were no pensions. they had nothing. if they had anything was the kid who in the depression didn't have any money to help the elderly. they were in the squeeze sacrificing their own parents and kids. a terrible situation. he's alleviating this. number two, i have a another great idea. we're have never had it before it's called unemployment compensation. if you lost a job through no
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fault of your own i'm going give you a check every week for a couple of years. what? yes. yes. and then the third one, almost a call, if the private sec forof the united states cannot provide work to the tens of millions of americans who want and need it, there's no alternative, mr. roosevelt said as if it were the most natural thing in the world. there's no alternative, the government has to do it and i shall. and between 1934 and '61 depending how you count, he created somewhere between twelve and 20 million jobs in the united states. how did the federal pay for it? remember where we are today. there's no must be. iwe have to tell old people they have to wait for social security for a another few years. we can't are the garage collected that many times. have the truck come around once
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a month whether you need it or not. there's no money, there's no money, there's no money. that was a worse descrption, they had no money. of course they had money. they did the things. which was a lot of money. where did they get the money? the same place they did it today? they would have to tax the rich and the corporation. that's not a fanciful left-wing idea. it's a american historyial idea of the -- let me give you couple of numbers. the economist rick to temper our talk with numbers because it seems to be effective in getting people to believe more than they would if we didn't throw in the numbers. here's a number. in 1934 it's the war. the president roosevelt goes on the aid owe and says to the american people, it is impossible for me as a president to sleep at night. we pay our soldiers over there in europe in japan fighting with
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$600 i believe is roughly what they paid them those years a year. $600 to risk their lives and they were dying in huge numbers. facility we have people in america earning wild amounts of money. this is impossible. i'm going propose, this is a reality. i'm going propose the following income tax rate on everybody who earns over $25,000, which was a lot of money then. here's the rate, the president proposed in his message to congress 100%. [laughter] what that is, i'm glad you're enjoying this. [laughter] if we can get more americans to enjoy this, things are going to change. [laughter] this is a max mum income. that's what they meant. every dollar over 25,000 you
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earned you didn't earn. you wouldn't get it. you had to pay income tax. i did the numbers, 25,000 and a little over $350 ,000 now everybody every dollar over $350 today bye bye. the republicans, as you might imagine, then and now went ballistic with a suggestion. they hated it. there was a tremendous struggling with and finally, they comprised and it was reached and the comprise was 94%. so starting in -- yes. smile. [laughter] this is american history, i didn't make any of this up. so in 19 43, every dollar that in anyone in america earned over $25,000 they had to give 94% to
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the government and they got to keep six cents. top income tax rate. the top rate is 35 more%. you can see how things have changed after the war compared to what they were built up by the struggle of the 1930s. when someone said to you is it twort struggle to build a socialist -- the answer is kind of self-evident. look what they were able to do. in 194445, the federal government, which relies overwhelmingly on the income tax, the income tax on individuals that we all pay and the income tax on corporate profits, businesses pay a tax on their income just like individuals pay a tax on our income. in 1945 for every drail the federal government got from individuals it got a $1.50 from corporations. today for every dollar the
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federal government gets from individuals it gets 25 cents from corporations. so over the last fifty years, it's simple what happened. taxes were shifted from corporations to individuals, and from the richest individuals to all of you. on behalf america's corporations and wealthiest people, i want to say to all of you, thank you. [laughter] very kind of you. [laughter] what is it that tax problem we have in the united states? answer, we don't have a tax problem. we have a political problem in that we are incapable of mounting the kind of campaign to go and get the money where it is. and where it has always has been and where it was in in the 1930s and where it was franc by mr. roosevelt to get us through crisis over the lot less suffering than otherwise would have happened then or that is
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happening now and we are wack to europe. because the europeans are saying we will not tolerate this. over the last period, this issue has become very, very tight in europe. my guess is, we're going see the ramifications of this as europe is literally torn apart with implications, reserve ration in our society a this will touch everyone in the room and everyone watching. >> we want to get to some of the questions from the audience. i'm not going to let you go without talking about -- [inaudible] and the possibility of a successful cooperative here in the united states as the alternative to corporate capitalism. >> yes. that's a wonderful question. let me give it a context. what was done in the 19 pos was the deal i've described to you to help the mass of people
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but to leave the corporate capitalism pretty much alone. help people with social security, help them with unemployment, help them with jobs. but don't change the system. we have now had fifty years since that to see what the results were. and i think the results are clear. we have lost what was gained then. for example, the tax rates i described to you. rich don't pay what they once did. corporations don't pay what they once did. when it comes to the regulations that were passed in the great depression, where, by the way, were similar things happened to this one. the banks were a leading cause of collapse, people back in history there were things called bank panic and bank holiday. masses of people would be told your bank may never give you back the depositive its you think you have in there.
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and people would literally run to the bank hoping to get their money out before the window was closed. the government had to declare bank holiday close the banks to prevent pandemonium. for parkings were seen as a problem and very famous bill was passed. the banking act 1933 which said basically the following, banks have behaviored very badly. this may come as a shock to some of you that the bank behaved very badly. they took inappropriate risks with other people's money, mainly the money of depositors, individuals and individuals who put their money in there for safe keep. a bill was passed saying with i have to have two kinds of bank in the united states. depository banks, banks which accept depositive it'ds that are not allowed to take a real risk and a separate kind of bank an investment bank things like goldman sachs which you heard
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about. they collect money from investors. they can take risks because the investors know what they're getting in to when they give the banks some money. this bill was inconvenient to banks. they wanted to be able to use other peoples' money. that's how they made a loot of money. they went to work after 1945, to evade, weak end, and eventually get rid of the bill it was named after the two people in the senate and the house who passed it, one named mr. glass, one mr. named stegall. the glass-stegall act? 1990 they succeeded much they got it repealed. the repeal for those don't know was signed as bill clinton as president. helping to deregulate. what did we have? the taxes on the rich got rid of. taxes on cormingses were reduced. the regulations on business were gotten rid of. what is it we saw?
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we saw that by not changing the organization of capitalist enterprises, we left in place people with the incentives and the resources to undo everything that had been achieved in the great depression. we learned a powerful lesson if we with are willing to face it. it's sort of like winning a war but leading the the army in place with the -- [inaudible] knowing that have a lot of resentment about how it ended up. they might, you know, use their weapons to climb again. if you love in place a corporate capitalist structure, small group of major share holds who own the share in their hands, they therefore select the board of directors. remember when they do in every corporation? it decides what to produce, how
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to produce, where to produce, and what to do with the profits. for americans this has always struck me as a fundamental political issue. i mean, here we are in a country after all which claims it is committed to democracy to the idea that if you live with the results of the decision, you ought to have the right to participate in making that decision. we say that about our political activities, and here we are we go to work, five out of seven days a week, working all day in a workplace is the workplace where decisions are made all the time that affect us is the workplace democratic? do we part as workers in deciding what we produce, how we produce, where we produce, and what is done with the profit? i rest my case. we don't.
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the place we spent most of our adult lives is not democratic, which makes our commitment to typically wobbly, to be as polite as i can. beyond that, we have left in the corporate board rooms people who were determined to undo everything done in the great depression. the job of a minute or woman in the board of directors is to make money for the corporation. that's why they are there. a high tax rate on big business, they don't want it. a tax on the high wealthy, they don't apt this. for them a regulation that impedes share freedom of making business decisions, they don't want that either. they go work to get rid of impediment. that's their job. that's what they try to learn to co. that's what they're taught in business school. how to do. why are we surprise the after world world war ii they dig that? that's they got rid of glass
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seeing. they lowered. they did all of those things and they don't have the incentive, but let's remember, they're the board of directors in their hands come the profits. so they have the money with which to realize their incentive and takes us back to where they began. they went to work open politics, of course, they get rid of that bill to change the tax law. they use the money to control the politickings to undue the impedement, and here we are back again. glass stegall was repealed in 1999. eight years later, the banks took us in to the soup again. first time shame on us. we didn't understand we shouldn't leave it this way. second -- first time shame on them, second time shame on us. what do i mean? here's the hard parking lot, -- part that may upset some folks, let me employee ahead. we have to face the fact that
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undemocratic economic system rooted in the way of organizing production that we have left intact has given the second major collapse in 75 years. wow. it has undone most of the achievement of the 1930s. wow. and it is now insufficient power to have made sure that the crisis it brought on was responded to by the government bailing out all the folks at the top, the biggest bank, the biggest corporation, the stock market. and when the dust clear and the -- two realities left, one, it wasn't enough to overcome the crisis and two, the -- bail everybody out and that has to be
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dealt with in the way it's going to be dealt with is fire teachers, we're going lay -- cut back on the pension with, we're going to force stocktons in disruption, we're going to force the teachers in chicago out on the strike and picket line. and so on. wow, a system produces a devastating cry again. bails everybody at the top leaving the massive people unbailed out and informs the mass of people, you get to pay for all of this. wow. the alternative would be, wait a minute. wait a minute. stop. can we organize or imbrices in a way that would be radically different so we can make changes that wouldn't be undone by boards of directors doing what we understands they are there to do. i think the answer is yes. it comes out of something as american as apple pie.
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and baseball and whatever else you would like. it's the old idea of cooperative enterprise. it's a democratic idea. it's a notion of democratickizing the enterprise or the workplace or the economy and the idea is simple, the people who go to work in any enterprise, a store, an office, a factory, it doesn't matter, they should collectively make the decisions of the enterprise. monday through thursday, for example they do come to work. friday they come to work, they do it differently. they sit around all day and have meetings. where they decide what to produce, how to produce, where to produce, and what to do with the profits. what an interesting idea. let's think a minute how it might work and i'll give you a concrete example how it worked. for those skeptical you'll see i
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didn't make it up. i'm not clever enough. but let's see. what to produce. wow, workers would be participating in deciding what productses to produce. what an interesting idea. how to produce. here's a thought, now a company decides to use a toxic chemical because a board of directors is 4,000 miles in new york city or who knows where and they're look agent bot symptom line. this is a good chemical. yes. a few kids will get emphysema. it happens. if you're the people making the decision and you're right there, you're probably going reach a different decision about the toxic technology. for those worried about what's being produced and how it's being produced letting people make their own decisions is going make a difference. here's another one. it gets fun now.
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where to produce. if the workers in every enterprise made the decision about where to produce. how many of them would close the factory and move it to china? i would guess kind of -- [inaudible] [laughter] to be critical as you were. or close to zero. wow. what a thought. that the workers who will have have to life with a factory that closes who lives in a community that will affected by the adult workers themselves would make the decision. here's another one, if they dtd decide to do with the profits that their labor helps to produce. here's an interesting thing we can expect. over the last thirty years with boards of directors elected by major shareholders. we notice something i'm sure you have noticed the boards of directors decided to used profits they were earning to give enormous increases in the salaries to top exiktives.
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we're famous in america for that. the ratio what a top executive gets is 3 to 400 in the country. it's less in virtually all the countries. capitalists or noncapital. so we have been an major part of the inequality i talked about before that has run over thirty comes out of the decision made in the board rooms with the boards of the directors and major shareholders how they distribute the profits. here's a thought if they distributedded the profits collectively, would they give four people 40 million each and everybody else not enough. unlikely? [laughter] the biggest, best way to undo the inequality of wealth and income in the decision would be organize a discussion about the profits and corporations are distributed. if you are serious about doing? about inequality. here's a good way to start. i could go on and as you can see, i enjoy the process. [laughter]
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but i won't. i'm going fell you instead to follow david's good question about a place that has been doing that just so you all know. but before i do that, a small point when i make this argument, i sometimes get skeptics who raise their hand, well, that's all right. we all know about the [inaudible] [laughter] which is, by the way, rub the way this. for those not aware. i believe it's true of the yellow cab company and some other substitutions in the area. and there are very important. in fact i interviewed just the other day a john curl, some of you may know him, curl. who works in the berkeley wood workers. which is a collective enterprise. i'm told things like, that's okay, those are little places. you can do that with six people if they're not too weird. [laughter]
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you could never do did. i'm always struck by this. here again, i'm going to be my economics professor-self. i had to teach an learn and teach courses called economic history we discuss how feudalism in europe which had been there for 10 -- 1,000 years gave away to capitalist. here's something that any history imran know as feudalism was falling apart, all the early capitalists were -- fooled one business march or woman with three workers or six workers. capitalism which became dominant started small. when i tell you that workers running their own business start small. that's not an argument you have to worry about. that's how it normally goes. you start small. the question arise can you come big?
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here comes [inaudible] it was a name of a city in northern spain in the vast country, just below the pyrenees mountains. that separate spain from france. in 1956, as one of the legacies of the spanish civil war the franco and all of that that you know about, terrible poverty, terrible suffering in that part of spain. terrible unemployment, it's a little bit unique because it's a separate language group. it's a different ethnicity than spanish people in general and so forth. a catholic priest in that part decided to do something for a terrible problem of unemployment. by the way, the catholics priest name is -- i hope you understand was. [inaudible] that's why they have that name. they choose the name in honor of about what i'm to tell you. father -- a little town which like all towns has two names.
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a spanish name, and a bath name which in that came is [inaudible] so if you go there, you'll see the town name of the town as you enter the town [inaudible] -- [inaudible] all towns are ke that. okay. he took six workers and started a cooperative enterprise. 1956 is when he began. and very clever, he can d in the mountainous area with the spanish government is afraid to go because the people have a long history of taking up arms and fighting in wars. much the spanish government keeps nice and distant from them. it has tried to control them many times and has never been able to do it. they had the protection of the mountain and the protection of the how long history of the fight and the protection that the catholic church was knit losed. it was half of a catholic project. the corporation has done real
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well. it now has 120,000 employees. it is the seventh largest corporation in all of spain, it is the largest corporation in the northern part of spain that runs from barcelona in the east to el salvador in the west. it's an extraordinarily successful collection of about 300 co-ops some as small as a dufngz people. some numbering employees in the founds. the largest single surprise enterprise is the largest supermarket chain in the northern half of spain 20,000 employees are member of the coop. they are run as collective cooperative enterprise. all decisions are made together. they are highly modernized, highly technology lodgely efficient and they have a number of interesting rules, but before
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i mention those. i want you to know that every one of the co-ops is required to compete with the capitalist enterprises in whatever they do. they do everything from rabbit farming to the protection much high-tech economy of all kind. so large say that have their own bank, their own pension system, their own research labs, and a university with four campuses to teach cooperative collective enterprise organization and management. this is a very sophisticated operation. and when you arrive there, it blows your mind. being modern glass and steel buildings. you think you're walking in to some american corporation headquarter outside of new jersey or something. a manicured bushes, and lawns and everything looking just so spiffy. and amazing what have achieved here are some of the rules, the maximum difference between what
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the highest paid person gets and the lowest is six and a half times what the average being closer to four. one of the thing i told you that happen. there is no allowance for that kind of differential. bottom line for them, the job whatever else happens, they will make sacrifices to keep people working. if they cannot employ you in this cooperative, the parent will give you a menu of options of where else they will relocate you with whatever training you need because for them, the job and what it means to the community and the family and all those who depend on a job for a person is number one. spain is a country today it was unofficial unemployment is 25%. the rate it it was depth of the
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depression in 1933. you have all of spain in a 25% unemployment rate, among the people in [inaudible] nobody loses their job. that's their commitment. and they've been able to do that and that's the thing they're most proud of. so can you become big? yes. can you succeed at it? yes. can you do any of the things they promise? yes. do they have lots of problems? yes. all kinds of problems. no one should think it's a nirvana. we have been through enough nirvana in the last 100 years. it has lots of problems. as you can imagine, working together collectively has lots of problems. you may know that for your personal relationships, your family, our all special cases. [laughter] many of us do, and we kind understand it. and first to tell you, we're not
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and very careful and defense i have when i asked them, how do you relate to the political parties in spain in they all smile and said we keep as far away from them as we can. they do. nay have nothing to do with them. their sense is parliamentary products is a or nest nest of trouble and curption. even though they have -- they are left. obviously both on the left but they do not -- they want to keep very clear of the -- but they are a stunning example what can be done. not that so you to go to over countries. cooperative enterprise.. again, let me urming you, i am embarrassed i forget the title. one of your folks here in san francisco, john curl, k-u-r-l. it new edition came out this
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year of the history cooperative comprise here in the united states. will amaze you of how much our history as a nation is wrapped up with people who came from all over the world with all kind of experiences they brought with them in collective or cooperative or community enterprise. last point, i'll drive it home. the nights of labor had a two-pronged strategy for labor. and it wept like this, one thing that we go is help workers negotiate a better deal with the employer. better wages, better working conditions, all the things we are far with that unions do. that's only one. that's a defensive goal. we also have another thing we're engaged in, which is to get
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beyond being dependent on an employer. and that meant for them the organization and buildings of collective cooperative, noncapitalist enterprises where they wouldn't be a few people who are loirs and everybody else who is an employee. it was a defeated a the the educational background of the 19th century. they gave up on that. two years ago, something remarkable happened. a major american union, a steel workers union in the united states, signed an alliance agreement with the [inaudible] cooperation and announced that they would now explore the steel workers in the united states. whether they might once again begin to think of a strategy in this country in which unions not only fought the defense i have battle to workers collectively
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bargain with their employers but also begin to organize, support, gather must money for with the development of an alternative enterprise i know we're running out of time. here's some thoughts for you to think about this. imagine a union that was confronting an american employer who said you have to give me concession. i want to take back the pension and you have too many holidays and i'm doing charge you $60 a month for parking your car in the lot over there, or whatever. and if you don't do these things i'll understand. but i'm leaving for china. imagine union desperate, terrified of calling the bluff in case it is a bluff. in case it isn't a bluff. imagine a union that said to the employer, not only a awful thing to do, but we have news for you if you do, we're going take the workers left behind and we're
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going produce a company that's going compete with what you do in china with a following difference we'll make sure all the american public knows exactly what happened here. and we're going to do -- what we produce with the workers here. in other words, american unions are going to have a new extra card to play. wow. [applause] imagine the movement, imagine a labor movement that started a social movement around this. recapturing the role labor once had as vanguard of social change. and in case you're wondering, this has already -- this idea has already produced results i'm going use one example, italy. they had a law in the book for twenty years called the [inaudible] law, and they marcora. they give you a choice. choice number one, you can get a
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weekly paycheck just like we do here. unemployment compensation. choice number two, they will give you your with entire two to three years up front as lump sum on one condition. you must get at least ten other workers to make the same choice and it must be used to in italy to begin and operate a collective enterprise of those unemployed workers. what an interesting idea. how to solve unemployment by creating a any kind of enterprise that would finally give the american people real freedom of choice. you want to work in a enterprise, might you like to troy the other kind? would you like to buy the product of these kinds of capitalist enterprise or where workers have a different life and relationship? these are new distributions that come out of the crisis of
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capitalist to turn a bad thing in to a good thing. that's the destruction we thought go. thank you. [applause] [applause] [inaudible conversations] i want to remind if you go to alternativeradio according you'll find programs featuring him. just a couple of question and brief answers. please in the time remaining, is it too soon to [inaudible] capitalism? [laughter] capitalist has resisted and survived many crises, they used to be a harsh joke about marxist
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economists which congratulated them for predicting ten of the last four recessions. think about that. [laughter] capitalism has all kinds of resources and it is deploying automatic of them right now to get through very serious crisis. i can't predict the future any better than anybody else can. whether they will get through this one. how they will get through this one. i am struck by one thing as a product are america's elite education, which i am in economics a and the university system in general, i find it stunning that i was required -- i went to harvard, stanford, and yale, those are the only institutions, i wanted you to have sympathy of me as a result. [laughter]
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i was never required on my way to getting a ph.d. in economics, which is who i ended up with, i was never required to read one word of karl marx's critiques of capitalist. that's not unusual. that's typical. and i was also never required to take a course in what might have been called capitalism instability or if that sword too frightening, the old name for courses, the business cycle. [laughter] we didn't have that. so, i'm watching my covert in washington, d.c., the people making policy for both parties. these are people who have never studied the critic took of capitalism, and have no knowledge in any kind of general somatic way about the systems instability. it was believed these instabilities were behind us now. we have learned how to manage
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everything. there's no a prb. we didn't need the courses anymore. they were once there. they were gone. so if you're wondering with a what are the reasons why such a poor job is being done these days in managing this crisis why isn't it already over? it's not the only answer but part of the answer is they don't know. they just don't know. they didn't want to think they would have this problem and when the problem arises, they're not real good at it. so i -- we're not in good shape as an economic system and we're not in good shape with the people running. that's why we have to have stimulus and quantitateddive -- and everybody wonders what's happening. and no one is sure. the system is not under control. whether it's going to die is a little early. >> there's a choice someone asked here between bad and worse. i'm voted for bag.
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obama. what's your opinion? [laughter] i find this choice i'm sure many of you do. continual exercised in the lesser evil. understand the logic of choosing the lesser evil. i suppose i will choose the lesser evil unless i'm in a state where most americans will be when a outcome is already known it's not an issue it's only a handful of starts, if i understand expectly where there's real contest and i don't live in one of those. i will be free to whoever whoever i want to. it will not affect the outcome between the two major candidates. for me the most important thing i can think of is to develop alternatives to build whatever third parties or new social movements i am dopily moved and excited by the occupy wall
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street breakthrough. i think that is is a monumental shift in american politics. it's the first major social movement in my experience in america which has put the economic question front and center. unlike the civil rights and the feminist and many of the other important movement of our time there was fear of going in the direction. that would split poem. they weren't ready. the police would be angry. we're putting the question 169% right in front and center. that opens a space that i have since felt this book is not do able without the space opened by occupy wall street for the interest. if i'm correct, and understanding this is now a third printing and -- only appeared in may of this year, that's -- the thanks go to the people like the occupy wall street people when are willing to break from the tradition not to be limited by the tweed dumb
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or tweed key. >> another question on the occupy movement was asked about what happened to it. it seemings to have gone in some kind of recess or stay. a great political leader of the left who i won't mention the name is well known for having said political movements do not dwom develop in the straight line. it doesn't go up and up, up it's like everything else. two steps forward or one step back. or the other way around. occupy wall street came out of nowhere in a tremendously short time became a national phenomena that changed the discourse. obama had to make it part of his speech at the convention. he had to make a reference to that. that would not have happened for occupy wall street did.
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it is an overwhelming breakthrough of enormous proportions. i fully expect it will have to take a step back. it made some strategic choices to be focused on taking a park. i live in new york city, i can walk to the park where this all began and i went there many times, and, you know, they made that decision. that created the opportunity for a 1% mayor, michael bloomberg in new york, to have a solution for this problem which the pressure from wall street got big enough which is clear them out. now bag man of limited means, i'll leave it vague like that, and our financial but obviously a man of limited other sorts of means here's what he said. he was concerned, he said, about cleanliness in the park. [laughter] this is a man who presides over some of the filthiest subway
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planet. filthy when he became mayor three terms today and filthy today about which he has done nothing. every new yorker knows it. the man was revealed for what he was. and that cost him his political career is now very womanly in a way it wasn't before. that's because of occupy wall street and horrific bad way he coped with it. but he did manage to shut it down. but i think there are tens of thousands of people who learned in that occupy wall street absolutely invaluable lessons. they thought they were along. they know they aren't. they thought there wasn't a lot of sport for these kinds of idea. they know there is now. they thought that all the institutions of society trade unions and others would be against them. they know it's no longer the case. they know things they didn't know before. that changes everything in the equation. i think they will find new ways
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either without organization or with a new one to move this forward. some an inertia has been broken. i suspect we're going to be positively surprise bid the forms that takes. on that note, "occupy the economy," challenging captain capitalism. richard wolff. [applause] [applause] >> we'd like to hear from you. tweet us your feedback twitter.com/booktv. we under instrument how much we forget of our own ideas and of the things we read. we are terrible even those who have god memories will forget particularly if an idea is the fragmentary hunch-like thing it's a fleeting sense of something is interesting and it spheres and so one of the things i found a a lot of the people doing. is not just write everything
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down. but to keep everything kind of together. don't over organize your notes. don't put them in folders. you want to allow interesting collisions to happen between your ideas. but the important thing is go back and reread all those notes. go back and look at the notes from six years and revisit that kind of pass self and all the ideas he or she had. that's what the common place book was like for most of the great minds. they would stitch together these passages from books they read they were inspired by. and they would write their own notes and coback and reread the book which was itself a kind of remaxed kind of sampled clippings of all these other ideas and they're intellectual presence, their intellectual kind of self was formed bit constant rewriting and reimagining of other people's
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ideases. >> steven johnson will be our guest next month. the science writer and column nist will look at the cyber world. live sunday october 7th an noon eastern. right here on c-span2. >> live is steven carter. and he is the author of amongnye many other books of this one the most rented the impeachment of abraham lincoln, a novel. professor carter, what are there are two premise in here i want t to goat that are historicallyhir inaccurate.ccurate. number one, abraham lincoln survives the assassination attempts, and abraham lincoln is impeached. where did you come up with this? >> i should start by making clear, inspite of the title, i'm a lincoln fan. this is not an argument on behalf of lincoln's
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impeachment. it's not a brief. it's a novel. for me as a lincoln fan and fan someone interested in presidentful power and history, it's a question that suggests itself. what if lincoln had survived,ant and if what, in my telling in poli political enemies, he had many in the own party, politicalrty, enemies 1865 were looking far wa they to get him out of the way.i what if they i did d it through the impeachment process. >> and again, where do you come up with the idea?t: when did it occur to you it might be a fun thing to do? i don't know when i decided to t turn it in a novel. i can remember in college, chatting chatting with one of my professors after class one day c what ifol lincoln had survived. over the years people speculates it. we turn it no the assays nationi failed. s i can't if came to me.
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oncead it came to me i had to pw every everything aside and write it. >> you're a law professor atsy yale. did it come easy to you in the courtroom drama? to w >> no novel is easy to write. it fit in my interest in as ai i scholar. i whereabout war and i have a written a lot about lincoln oveo the years. taking those questions, those ideas including the fiction. if you think about it lincoln did do things that raise interesting questions.stinqu lincoln did suspend the has been use corpus. he locked up newspaper editorsis and journalist who did not like the war.hall. there's a lot more. what the impeachment processpro being used for political reasone nevertheless things he did in the war as way of trying to get him out of the way? the >> now, from a historically a accurate point of view, how mucw political pressure was abraham
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lincoln under in early 1865? >> lincoln was the most talentet politician, i believe, who everb inhabited the noted the ovalval office but the presidential awfts at the time.he he had the balance competingns f factions of zone party, he had t run the civil war while trying to main the own presidency allpr through the presidency thereid n were other members of the own party who thought -- simply there were better men they he was. h morally and in other ways and they wanted to hold the jobjob instead. the latest in 1865, the lincoln's political -- some way reduce the tower take charge of the administration because bu theyse viewed lincoln as a man o shouldn't be wielding the power he was. wiel >> one otherng thing i want to t out before you leave us, who isu his attorney? who defns him? >> [laughter] there a lot of novels about
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lincoln. almost allb of them are told asf an insider inside the white house, someone with power.e wh i want toit tell my story throul the eyes of an outsider. my protagonist is ab gal. she's 21 years old. a recent college graduate.ab he wanted to be lawyer and this is a at at a time there were sit or seven black lawyers in america. no female lawyers in america at all. but this is her ambitious and wanting to be a lawyer she ends up with a job as a minor clerk at the law firm that ends up defending lincoln in the novel, i wanted to give it an outsiders' perspective someone who is black and outside of thes corridors of power and finding it hard to get in. >> historically accurate, six or seven black a lawyers in americn in 1967. >> six or seven lawyers.lly we dmoant the exact number. no female laws. there were no full members of the bar, i want to be careful. in l '70s they did legal
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duties in the late '60s. at the interesting there wasn'ty that much money. they weren't not making lots of money. there were lawyers blacks, doctors.an one thing overlooked one of the most admires profess was being p pharmacist. being a pharmacist was more wa lucrative with respect than being a doctor, for example and there were a handful of blacks w farmist as well.l.>> >> is your most recent book.s how many books have you ho written? how many fiction. >> i think i have published eight or nine non-fiction books. i'm losing track. this is any fifth novel. w i like writing. >> are you teaching this semester at yale. >> i'm still a full-sometime law professor. since i have started writing novels if i was going stopea teaching law. i i love being a law po